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FMCSA approves new camera monitoring system as alternative to conventional rear-vision mirrors

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has approved an exemption application from Stoneridge Inc. that will allow the company’s MirrorEye Camera Monitor System (CMS) to be installed as an alternative to conventional rear-vision mirrors currently required on commercial motor vehicles in the United States.

The decision will apply solely to Stoneridge’s MirrorEye system, making it the only CMS that allows for complete removal of traditional mirrors in the U.S., said a Stoneridge news release.

“This decision will help bring an innovative driver vision technology to market that will greatly improve the safety of everyone who shares the road,” said Jon DeGaynor, Stoneridge president and CEO. “The MirrorEye Camera Monitor System empowers truck drivers to avoid potential collisions by the elimination of certain blind spots, expansion of their field of view and increased awareness of the truck’s surroundings. This exemption allows our customers to fully recognize both the safety and fuel economy benefits of MirrorEye.”

In granting the exemption, FMCSA noted the MirrorEye CMS consists of multiple digital cameras mounted on the exterior of the CMV and enclosed in an aerodynamic package that provides both environmental protection for the cameras and a mounting location for optimal visibility.

FMCSA said each camera has video processing software that presents a clear, high-definition image to the driver by means of a monitor mounted to each A-pillar of the CMV, i.e., the structural member between the windshield and door of the cab.

The agency said Stoneridge explained in its exemption request that attaching the monitors to the A-pillars avoids the creation of incremental blind spots while eliminating the blind spots associated with conventional mirrors.

Stoneridge told FMCSA that its technology meets or exceeds the visibility requirements provided in federal trucking regulations based on several factors:

  • Greater field of view than conventional mirrors. Mirrors are replaced by wide angle, narrow angle and look-down cameras, expanding the field of view by an estimated 25 percent.
  • Fail-safe design. The system has independent video processing of multiple camera images so that in the unlikely event of an individual camera failure, the other camera images continue to be displayed, ensuring that real-time images are displayed without interruption.
  • Augmented and enhanced vision quality. The use of high-definition digital cameras provides for color night vision, low light sensitivity and trailer panning capabilities. This assists with night driving, operating under other low lighting conditions, and provides for glare reduction.
  • Trailer panning. The CMS automatically tracks the end of the trailer to keep it in view while the vehicle is moving forward. Stoneridge believes this feature could eliminate collisions associated with the CMV driver making a right-hand turn, and incidents where the CMV strikes a pedestrian or bicyclist while making right-hand turns.

DeGaynor thanked trucking industry leaders who have tested, provided input and helped validate the effectiveness and reliability of the technology.

“Stoneridge would like to especially acknowledge the American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association, Trucking Alliance, Spangenberg Partners and numerous individuals of the trucking community who have supported our mission of improved safety,” he said.

Last April, FMCSA said it had asked for public comments on the exemption request.

ATA told the agency that granting this and similar petitions for exemption from federal requirements that currently are barriers to mirrorless technology would provide valuable real-world experience and data to inform future regulatory action to allow CMS technology as an alternative to rear view mirrors for all vehicle types, noting that motor carriers and truck manufacturers recognize the potential of CMS to improve both safe operations and fuel efficiency when compared with traditional exterior mirrors.

Schneider and J.B. Hunt both told FMCSA they had been using the MirrorEye CMS, in addition to the required mirrors, in a select number of vehicles.

“Both motor carriers support granting Stoneridge’s application,” FMCSA said in granting the exemption.

“Schneider states that its drivers using the MirrorEye CMS have (1) had an overwhelmingly positive experience,” and (2) confirmed some of the benefits touted by Stoneridge in its application, including improved visibility in night driving and low-light conditions, improved visibility due to auto tracking of the trailer, and reduced driver distraction due to light and glare reduction.”

J.B. Hunt commented that “we have not been involved in any collisions and have received overwhelming positive feedback from our test drivers,” adding that its drivers noted benefits such as “real time, excellent monitor image clarity with improved field of vision around their tractors and trailing units and elimination of the tractor’s problematic front passenger side blind spot.”

The FMCSA said Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety had opposed the exemption request “on the basis that the application is overly broad,” noting that the regulations governing requests for exemption require applications to include “an estimate of the number of drivers and commercial motor vehicles that would be operated under the terms and conditions of the exemption,” which in this case could encompass every CMV and driver presently on the U.S. roads.

“We must oppose such an overly broad exemption which would apply for at least five years,” Advocates said in its comment.

The organization added that while opposed to the application, it recognized the potential benefits of the technology, and instead urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FMCSA “to establish a pilot program study the benefits of using cameras to enhance commercial vehicle driver visibility as this technology has the potential to reduce or eliminate the large and dangerous blind zones around CMVs.”

“MirrorEye technology was designed and improved based on real input from commercial vehicles drivers during testing,” said Stephen Fox, vice president of business development at Stoneridge. “We have collected a tremendous amount of data and challenged the system in real-life scenarios. We are fully confident MirrorEye CMS will provide exceptional reliability and resolve many of the safety issues commercial vehicle drivers currently face.”

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Kenworth and Toyota collaborate to develop zero emission trucks

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The Kenworth T680s will transport cargo across the Los Angeles basin and to inland cities — such as Ontario and San Bernardino — while generating zero emissions, other than water vapor. (Courtesy: KENWORTH TRUCK CO.)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Kenworth Truck Co. and Toyota Motor North America are collaborating to develop 10 zero-emission Kenworth T680s powered by Toyota hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains.

The collaboration was revealed during CES2019 here.

This collaboration is part of a $41 million Zero and Near-Zero Emissions Freight Facilities (ZANZEFF) grant preliminarily awarded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), with the Port of Los Angeles as the prime applicant.

The grant monies are part of a larger $82 million program that will put fuel cell electric tractors, hydrogen fueling infrastructure, and zero emissions cargo handling equipment into operation in the ports and Los Angeles basin in 2020.

The Kenworth T680s will transport cargo across the Los Angeles basin and to inland cities — such as Ontario and San Bernardino — while generating zero emissions, other than water vapor, thanks to their fully electric hydrogen fuel cell powertrain integrations co-developed by Kenworth and Toyota.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Kenworth and Toyota to work together to both explore and drive the development of advanced zero emission technologies that will play a critical role in the commercial transportation of the future,” said Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and Paccar vice president.

“This is not just a science experiment, the goal is to make a difference in society. To remove pollution and improve the air quality in and around the Port of Los Angeles,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president, Toyota Motor North America.

The Kenworth T680s with the Toyota hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains combine hydrogen gas and air to produce electricity. The electricity powers electric motors to move the trucks, while also charging the lithium-ion batteries to optimize performance as needed. Sophisticated power management systems will apportion the electrical power from the fuel cells to the motors, batteries, and other components, such as electrified power steering and brake air compressors. The hydrogen fuel cell electric powered Kenworth T680s will have a range of over 300 miles under normal drayage operating conditions.

The program will also fund foundational hydrogen fuel infrastructure, including two new fueling stations that, subject to a final investment decision by Equilon Enterprises LLC (dba Shell Oil Products U.S.), will be developed through Shell Oil Products U.S., to support the operation of the fuel cell electric trucks in Southern California.

For more information on Kenworth, visit www.kenworth.com.

For more information on Toyota, visit www.toyota.com.

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Mack Trucks releases ninth and final episode of RoadLife series

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Mack Trucks concluded its RoadLife series with “RoadLife Reunion,” the ninth and final episode, available now on roadlife.tv and Amazon Prime Video. The episode takes viewers behind the scenes of RoadLife production, including a special reunion event featuring the stars of the series. (Courtesy: MACK TRUCKS)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Mack Trucks has released “RoadLife Reunion,” the ninth and final episode of its RoadLife series on roadlife.tv and Amazon Prime Video.

“RoadLife Reunion” provides a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the series, including additional footage from each episode, further acknowledging the extraordinary efforts of the hard working men and  women of the trucking industry.

Click on photo to view Reunion episode

“Not many brands could genuinely develop a series like this, with well-known celebrity partners presented on equal footing with customers and drivers,” said John Walsh, vice president of marketing, Mack Trucks. “Mack’s unique combination of rich history, remarkable customers and talented storytellers brought us this incredible series.”

“RoadLife Reunion” also features interviews with the Mack marketing team members behind the series as they share how each episode came to life from storyboarding through final production. All told, the team traveled 32,325 miles over 136 days in capturing footage for the series.

The journey began in New York City, the birthplace of Mack Trucks, and continued through 31 additional cities, culminating in a reunion at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania, where those featured in the series shared their distinct experiences.

“A lot of companies talk about family, but for Mack, it’s always been real,” Walsh said. “If you do business with Mack, if you’re employed by Mack, if you’re a Mack dealer, you become part of the Mack family. And everyone who took part in RoadLife is now part of that family too.”

“RoadLife Reunion,” as well as the other eight episodes in the RoadLife series, is available on roadlife.tv and Amazon Prime Video. In addition, viewers can access RoadLife bonus content on Mack Trucks’ social channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

 

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Paccar brings battery-electric, hydrogen fuel cell trucks to Vegas electronics show

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The Peterbilt Model 220EV was one of the energy-efficient trucks Paccar brought to the table at CES in Las Vegas this week.

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Three zero-emission vehicles in the form of a battery-electric Peterbilt Model 579EV; a battery-electric Peterbilt Model 220EV; and a hydrogen fuel cell electric Kenworth T680 developed in collaboration with Toyota is what Paccar brought to the table this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Las Vegas.

CES is one of the world’s largest showcases for the latest in technological innovation.

The trucks were designed for a range of applications, including OTR freight delivery, port operations and urban distribution.

Visitors are welcome to climb aboard the trucks and explore the advanced powertrains at Paccar’s booth, near the Westgate monorail station. In addition, visitors to the booth can learn about other Paccar technologies such as next-generation driver assistance systems, truck platooning and in-cab human-machine interfaces.

Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF are among the leaders in the development of alternative powertrain commercial vehicles. Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF are field-testing battery-electric, hydrogen fuel cell and hybrid powertrain vehicles with customers in North America and Europe. “Paccar is excited about the opportunity to create the next generation of powertrains that are environmentally-friendly and enhance our customers’ operations,” said Landon Sproull, Paccar vice president.

Kyle Quinn, Paccar chief technology officer, said Paccar is investing in the latest technology across its portfolio of products, adding that the Paccar Innovation Center in Silicon Valley, California, has enhanced the company’s access to emerging technologies and talent from around the world.

 

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